Half a Million Bulgarians Barely Pay Electricity Bills

Energy | March 27, 2014, Thursday // 13:01|  views

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Around 500 000 Bulgarians find it difficult to pay their electricity bills, an expert at a Bulgarian energy trade union said.

An energy board must be immediately introduced if the government is to answer their needs, Bozhidar Mitev, who chairs the Independent Federation of Energy Employees at the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB), explained in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio.

The board proposed by his organization should be more a "consultative" body to give advice on energy policies.

Fiscal gaps in the energy system "were expected" to cause problems, Mitev added.

He said that no straightforward policy has so far targeted Bulgaria's "energy-needy" citizens, as in its approach to the issue the state has torn in between freezing energy bills and raising salaries.

Mitev was clear that aiding families which cannot pay their bills is a better solution than to "artificially maintain energy prices".

Setting up an energy board was an idea included in Wednesday's list of proposals made to Bulgaria's government after a meeting of experts and investors in the field.

Bulgaria's energy policy has now become an issue of heated discussions among experts and in the media.

Amid disputes between the state-owned National Electricity Company (NEK) and Bulgaria's power distributors (Czech CEZ and Energo-Pro and Austrian EVN) over nearly BGN 350 M of allegedly unpaid debts to NEK, many suggest that Bulgaria's energy system has a huge fiscal gap to mend and a price hike of electricity might result inevitable.

Ways are being sought out of the crisis as the state energy watchdog has threatened to suspend the licenses of power distributors if they do not pay until the end of the week.

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Tags: State Electricity Company (NEK), power distributors, energy board


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